Sometimes when things get the darkest, you just have to have a good morbid laugh. As researchers and governments across the globe scramble to find a vaccine for the quickly spreading COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 4,000 people and infected over 114,000 around the world, there are, of course, some nations attempting to avert a potential panic with a bit of levity.
Specifically, the governments of Vietnam, China and Mexico are among those attempting to take worried citizens’ minds off the endless news updates through music, as are a number of independent and parody artists who’ve greeted the scary virus with silly songs (note: some of the songs below contain content that some might find offensive).
In China, the nation where the virus originated, an all-star group of movie and music icons — including Jackie Chan, Wang Leehom, Xiao Zhan and others — have banded together for the soaring ballad “Believe Love Will Triumph.”
The “We Are the World”-style anthem from Chinese state media includes the lyrics “For you, I fight with my life even in the face of a rainfall of bullets/ Through the door of life and death, I promise not to leave/ The hardest thing is to let it go/ I will stay calm for you.”
By now you’ve probably seen the dancing viruses in the Vietnamese Health Department’s “Jealous Coronavirus” cartoon, which mixes humor and good information about how to stop the march of the disease that is spread through droplets in the air produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
While “Weird Al” Yankovic has stated that he won’t dip his toe into the parody pool on this very serious topic, that hasn’t stopped joke-loving physician Dr. Zubin Damania (aka ZDoggMD) from, of course, flipping The Knack’s “My Sharona” into “My Corona.”
“Oh, my little Wuhan one/ Viral one/ Comin’ to congest my lungs/ Ay Corona!” he sings over the song’s bouncy rhythm amid a screen full of close-ups of the virus and stock footage of China.
Dominican dembow singer Yofrangel 911 dropped what is likely the only true COVID-19 banger to date with the urgent “Corona Virus,” whose chorus features a series of fake sneezes. The singer is shown shaking in the back of an ambulance as he reminds fans to “cover your mouth” amid a list of typical symptoms.
Danial Kheirikhah, an artist from Iran — one of the other epicenters of the virus’ spread — weighed in with a silent film-style music video set to dramatic classical music in which he vigorously illustrates proper hand washing technique.
Mexico’s Mister Cumbia recorded “La Cumbia Del Coronavirus,” which urges people to be careful, wash their hands and to not touch their faces. The song is so irresistible that a group of nurses in the country created a dance to go with the track.
Hong Kong-based singer/actress Kathy Mak flipped Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” into an anthem about the rigors of staying safe during these uncertain times. “I sterilize, I sanitize, my hands are always freakin’ dry/ There’s just so many things/ That I can’t touch, I’m torn/ How do I use the lift?/ How do I get the door?” she sings while acting out the daily changes in her life.
Irish singer/songwriter Andy Conway cut out the middleman with his frank acoustic ballad, “Don’t Sneeze on Me Ye Gobshite (Coronavirus Song),” whose frank lyrics about self-quarantine include the lines, “Don’t sneeze on me ye gobshite/ Don’t ya cough on me ye fool/ Lock yourself away until it’s gone/ Don’t ya breathe on me ye bollocks/ Get the f—er outta pool/ You’ll have us all infected we’ll be done.”
Singaporean performer Alvin Oon took a swing at Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” with “Fight the Virus,” a public service announcement-style acoustic ballad with lyrics such as, “We hear of theories how it grew/ From snakes and bats became a flu/ Passing the sickness form man to man/ Now it’s growing, getting out of hand/ It’s a virus that has traveled near and far/ Corona/ We have to fight the virus.”
And don’t count the Philippines, which weighs in with comedian/singer Mikey Bustos’ insta-parody of Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” with “Stupid Cough.” The dancey track includes the lyrics, “I’m staying locked up in my house/ Don’t come near me/ If you need me/ Whatsapp! Viber!!/ Don’t want no stupid cough, cough,” over tips from Bustos about washing hands, eating right, using hand sanitizer, avoiding cruises and not being racist.
For useful information about the spread of COVID-19, how to avoid infection and the latest updates, visit the World Health Organization’s Corona hub.